|Administrative / biographical background:
The idea for a civic amenities society in Chester was conceived in 1959, two years after the formation of the national Civic Trust, and arose partly from concern at the potential threat to the city's heritage from planned developments. A meeting of interested persons was held at the Grosvenor Hotel on 15 December 1959, and this was followed by a public meeting at the Blossoms Hotel on 7 January 1960, which led to the formation of Chester Civic Trust.
The first meeting of the Chester Civic Trust Council was held on 17 February 1960 at Bishop Lloyd's House, Watergate Street. The first Chairman was Mr F.C. Saxon, and the first Honorary Secretary, Mr J.H. Chandler. Other founder members included the Ven. R.V.H. Burne, Archdeacon of Chester, Mr. Piers Dutton, Mr F.H. Thompson, Mr C.K. Sconce, and Mr H.C. Wickham.
The aims of Chester Civic Trust, as defined in its constitution, were 'To promote interest in civic design; to stimulate public consciousness and appreciation of the beauty, history and character of the City of Chester and its surroundings; and to encourage the preservation, development and improvement of features which enhance the attractiveness of the city'. To further these aims, a programme of lectures, debates, exhibitions, excursions, and other activities was initiated.
Issues of concern to the Civic Trust during its first year included the proposed Inner Ring Road; the future of the Old Blue Bell Inn, Northgate Street, and the Nine Houses, Park Street; and the possibility of a University at Chester. A highlight of the first year was a public lecture at Chester Town Hall on 1 April 1960 by Mr Ian Nairn on 'New buildings with old - problems in architectural relationships'.
By 1963, there were more than 300 members, a reflection of growing public interest in Chester's architectural heritage. In 1964, a Junior Civic Trust was formed in Chester, the first of its kind in the country.
During the 1960's, and to a lesser extent in the 1970's, there was much redevelopment in Chester, involving the demolition of many buildings, and the alteration in character of a number of city streets. The Civic Trust was especially concerned that new developments should, wherever possible, harmonise with the existing architecture, and the records reflect the Trust's interest in a variety of projects, schemes and issues, such as the central redevelopment; the new Cheshire Constabulary Headquarters; the redevelopment of Pepper Street; and the Mold wing of Chester General Station.